2/24/2012 LD: "(Un)Die Another Day"

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This thread is for discussion of this week's Latest Developments, which goes live Friday morning on magicthegathering.com.
One of the reasons Magic has had so much success lately is that we've actively tried to align the cards and mechanics that seem powerful with the cards and mechanics that actually are powerful. This is why we've made creatures central to tournament play, for instance. You shouldn't feel stupid for thinking an awesome giant badass Dragon or Angel or Demon or Hydra is awesome and giant and badass.


No, Magic "has had so much success" because you priced everyone out of Standard with Jace and fetchlands, disowned Extended, left Legacy and Vintage to rot, and neutered Modern before it ever really took off.  Then, you guys made several sets in a row that are All-Limited-All-The-Time, while leveraging Infect to nudge the casual scrubs who refuse to deal with infect into suggesting Casual Drafts at the kitchen table.

You guys have figured out how to make us rent our cards for three hours.  That's pretty clever, congratulations.
Too bad I'd rather own.  It's just unfortunate that there's not much really worth owning anymore.
On a different note: Nice intro! Nice to know others have strange thought processes too.
Grow old or die trying.
No, Magic "has had so much success" because you priced everyone out of Standard with Jace and fetchlands, disowned Extended, left Legacy and Vintage to rot, and neutered Modern before it ever really took off.  Then, you guys made several sets in a row that are All-Limited-All-The-Time, while leveraging Infect to nudge the casual scrubs who refuse to deal with infect into suggesting Casual Drafts at the kitchen table.

You guys have figured out how to make us rent our cards for three hours.  That's pretty clever, congratulations.
Too bad I'd rather own.  It's just unfortunate that there's not much really worth owning anymore.

This rant sounds like a big exaggeration based on the discussions I recall that I was never a part of. Yet one thing I could call out personally is your complaint against something like the fetchlands' prices, which I have to say:

...Really?


On topic, gotta admit I like Zac's style of writing a lot to keep my attention.
"The last thing we wanted to do, then, was take everything awesome about Innistrad and say, "Nope, now Limited is about this other thing, and it has nothing to do with the fun stuff you were doing before.""

And yet, somehow, this is exactly what has happened, and to a greater extent than almost any second set has done it in a long, long time.  I mean, of the ones I can think of that drastically affected viable archetypes, most of them (Worldwake, Morningtide, Planar Chaos, Guildpact, Legions) all had a positive effect on Limited, overall.  The only major example I can think of, of a format getting worse with the release of the second set is Darksteel.  You guys have screwed up a whole bunch of good limited formats with third sets (Kamigawa, Scars, Alara), but second sets have largely been pretty good.  Which only makes it all the more disappointing when you do it to a format that was as awesome as 3x Innistrad.
This rant sounds like a big exaggeration based on the discussions I recall that I was never a part of.

Only because hyperbole is way more awesome than regular-type bole.

No, Magic "has had so much success" because you priced everyone out of Standard with Jace and fetchlands, disowned Extended, left Legacy and Vintage to rot, and neutered Modern before it ever really took off.  Then, you guys made several sets in a row that are All-Limited-All-The-Time, while leveraging Infect to nudge the casual scrubs who refuse to deal with infect into suggesting Casual Drafts at the kitchen table.



Neutered Modern? It's in a cambrian explosion right now. It has taken off alright.

"When, by contrast, you're just announcing spells that are flagrantly imbalanced, it becomes very boring very quickly."


Did someone say Primeval Titan? No? Must have just been me... I could have sworn I heard someone mention Primeval Titan and his friends. Never mind.

Normally, we react to a card or mechanic on two distinct levels. There's the reaction we have when we first look at a card, our initial impression that forms based upon nothing but the act of opening a pack and reading a line of text. I like to call this our felt response. This is contrasted with our learned response, which is the reaction we internalize based upon how a card plays over the course of a number of games. The felt response is important because it affects peoples' initial opinions of a set&mda**** what entices them to play in the first place. The learned response is important because it determines how fun a set is to play over the long term. Without a powerful felt response, no one wants to play your set. Without a powerful learned response, the people who buy into playing your set have a bad experience. Good sets (and good mechanics) have to succeed on both levels.


Brilliant insight. Zac, you're really coming into your own. Your insight into how you improved Undying was certainly more in-depth than what MaRo had to say.  

"Ah, the age-old conundrum. Defenders of a game are too blind to see it's broken, and critics are too idiotic to see that it isn't." - Brian McCormick

Hehe, undies.


"When, by contrast, you're just announcing spells that are flagrantly imbalanced, it becomes very boring very quickly."


Did someone say Primeval Titan? No? Must have just been me... I could have sworn I heard someone mention Primeval Titan and his friends. Never mind.




Yeah, I agree. I think Wizards is overcompensating a bit by overpowering a number of high-end creatures. On the other hand, it's also the sad extension of the age-old Magic rule: "if it costs 6 or more, it better win you the game."

Brilliant insight. Zac, you're really coming into your own. Your insight into how you improved Undying was certainly more in-depth than what MaRo had to say.  



Not to be the buzzkill here, but Zac didn't think that up. I'm pretty sure I've read it in a MaRo column before.

I may be too much of a grouchy old-timer by now, but I like the deceptively powerful cards as well, and I think Wizards should continue printing them, as well as printing good old-fashioned drawback cards more often. Johnny likes drawbacks, Wizards.
76125763 wrote:
Zindaras' meta is like a fossil, ancient and its secrets yet to be uncovered. Only men of yore, long dead, knew of it.
I'unno if it's brilliant, but I'm pretty sure I came up with it on my own

Titans have run their course for sure.  In retrospect we wouldn't have reprinted them.  I do feel however that I'd rather make a mistake along those lines than a mistake along the lines of Mistbind Clique. 
I'm curious why you insist on only supporting "completed" limited archetypes on MTGO.  This may not be the place to ask it, but given the topic of the article, I figured now was as good a time as any: how come we can't ever draft SoK, SoK, SoK, or other cool formats like that? And why are we so often left with mediocre formats that resulted from poor 3rd sets as the only way to draft that set online?
And with Nearheath Stalker, we made him fragile enough for the cost that the value of his two-for-one would be mitigated somewhat by the quality of the cards with which he profitably traded.


There are reasons to want to attack with a 4/1 rather than leaving it back on defense, but they have nothing to do with the quality of the cards with which it trades, unless you're talking about removal spells.  On defense, Nearheath Stalker trades with a 4/4 and a 5/5, which is a hugely profitable trade, whereas on offense, he can be blocked by much smaller creatures.
And with Nearheath Stalker, we made him fragile enough for the cost that the value of his two-for-one would be mitigated somewhat by the quality of the cards with which he profitably traded.


There are reasons to want to attack with a 4/1 rather than leaving it back on defense, but they have nothing to do with the quality of the cards with which it trades, unless you're talking about removal spells.  On defense, Nearheath Stalker trades with a 4/4 and a 5/5, which is a hugely profitable trade, whereas on offense, he can be blocked by much smaller creatures.


Still, if you're opponent attacks with a 1/1 or 2/2 and you really have to block, it's very bad.